In this new year, we hastily approach the first major political event of 2017; the Inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. This has many people asking, “Should we give the Nazi salute before or after the Pledge of Allegiance?” But a smaller amount of people, namely… one, the author of this article, are asking, “Why do we consider Trump equivalent to Hitler at all?”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a list of issues with our President-elect as long as his already impressive list of gaffs. However, he is not Hitler. He hasn’t advocated killing hoards people, driving out races, or appointed a propaganda minister. So why do some people think the fourth Reich is on the horizon? Well, let’s have a look at three of the main reasons people might think so.
1. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.” … “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
This infamous quote was uttered somewhat early in the Trump campaign. It is already one of his most memorable and most controversial. This quote has been misquoted and misconstrued to say that Trump called all Mexicans “rapists” and “drug dealers”. However, the context of the quote is a discussion of illegal border crossing from Mexico to the United States. Trump was saying that illegal immigrants are these things. Knowing that Trump was specifically referring to immigrants, who have broken border laws in place for quite some time, the Hitler comparison no longer fits quite so neatly. Granted, there are other things to dislike about the quote, such as the clumsy manner in which it was put, or even the basic premise that many or most illegal immigrants are felons of some type. Question the validity of his claims, by all means, but know what you’re questioning first.
2. “Donald J. Trump is calling for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
Again, on its face, this quote and the later issue surrounding a “Muslim registry” are shocking, and rightfully so. This should shock us not only because it is a sweeping generalization of Islam and Muslims, but also because it has clear and obvious Constitutional issues. On the other hand, the proposed ban was temporary and only involved new entries into the United States. As for the registry, there’s lots of miscommunication surrounding it, but the bottom line is that Trump said that a registry of refugees might be needed. Again, this is questionable, for sure, but this quote and the surrounding controversy are not all they were made out to be.
(More information on the registry controversy here: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/nov/24/donald-trumps-comments-database-american-muslims/)
Now, there’s always that third issue with distancing Trump from racist White Power types, and that is the White Power types themselves. “Heil Hitler” graffiti and hate crimes have been more prevalent in recent weeks, a good portion attributed by some to Trump’s rise to the presidency. However, I personally explain this as such: After eight years of Democrat rule and much longer than that without a president who speaks insensitively and carelessly about minorities, doesn’t it make sense for the far reaches of the right-hand side of politics to feel liberated? I don’t think Trump is their savior and I think they are blowing his statements as wildly out of proportion as some on the far left are. I suspect the racist portion of the right is in for a rude awakening when they realize that their “white knight” (pun intended) is really a moderate with a larger than normal ego and mouth.
To sum up, Trump has the potential to be dangerous, yes, but to Hitlerize him is not conducive to actually combating him when he is wrong. If you caricature someone or something to an unrecognizable degree, you make it harder to properly flesh out and articulately respond to. We have real neo-Nazis our country, we have the KKK still active, and we have other hate groups who all want to use Donald Trump and his presidency to boost their message. Don’t let them by promoting the myth that Trump is their messiah who is going to wave a magic wand (or an executive order) and make all their racist dreams come true. To all who oppose Trump, even on just one or two issues, don’t demonize, criticize. Spelling out the points where Trump is wrong will undoubtedly sway more people than the cleverest Hitler/Trump meme you can muster.
That’s all for now, Ma’ams and Sirs.